We talked with Claus-Peter Beringer, founder & CEO at eclipso Mail & Cloud, about private email communications and the value the company provides by keeping users’ data collection to a minimum and providing full transparency of its services.
1. Tell us a few words about your company and the services it offers.
eclipso Mail & Cloud is a cloud-based SaaS solution for smaller companies, entrepreneurs, and private users. Our platform offers all the tools and apps you need for modern communication and organization with just one login and under one roof. With eclipso Mail & Cloud you take care of all your written communication. In addition to our core product, e-mail, you can also conveniently send letters (post office), faxes and SMS online.
Photos, files and documents are stored and shared in the eclipso cloud. In eclipso Office, you can manage your appointments in the calendar, record tasks and notes and bookmark your favorite websites (favorites) online.
Protection of privacy, security, data protection, transparency, customer orientation, useful applications and a well-thought-out price model are the cornerstones of our actions. Our most popular package, eclipso Connect, offers very good value for money.
2. In what way do you believe your company, or its services stand out from your competition?
We operate in a business field that has been shaped by a few big players. These companies have set themselves the goal of collecting as much data as possible about their visitors and customers. The result is misuse of data, violation of privacy and, in some cases, unbridled transfer of data without users being informed.
We have been countering this trend for years and, even before the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation; we decided to only store and process personal data where it is absolutely necessary, supporting these key principles: data minimization and data economy.
Another important and central point in our strategy is customer service. In our experience, customers are tired of dealing with chatbots or being held in endless queues on the phone. Our team processes customer inquiries personally, promptly, quickly, and competently.
Despite the widespread use of messenger services, e-mail is enjoying increasing popularity and is reaching a larger number of users from year after year. No other system is as flexible and standardized across platforms, providers and systems as e-mail.
3. eclipso also offers some niche services like online fax or online postal letters. How come they are still a thing today?
With our core product e-mail and value-added post office, SMS and fax services, everything that arises in correspondence can be dealt with easily and conveniently online. Especially in the current pandemic situation, we are seeing increasing use of our value-added services, as many people are now working from home. Smaller companies and entrepreneurs are also increasingly using our services.
The advantages are apparent: central management of all correspondence, no unnecessary trips to the post office, no stamps, no unnecessary visits to the authorities. By using our online services, you are also doing something good for the environment and can positively impact your own carbon footprint.
4. What does data privacy and data protection mean to you?
Everyone has the right to privacy and the right to adequate protection of their data. You don’t really need laws for that, it should go without saying. I myself am a certified external data protection officer and try to implement my knowledge in my heart project eclipso Mail & Cloud. Unlike data-driven companies, we aim to collect as little data as possible about our customers.
With eclipso Mail & Cloud, we are consistently following this path and showing that we also limit the collection and processing of data to what is absolutely necessary.
We consistently implemented the principle of “data economy”, “data minimization” and “privacy by design”. We’re still working to improve and optimize these principles in some areas, but we are on the right track. Despite or precisely because of this, it is possible to provide customers with tools and apps that meet their needs.
We have also thought of the “right to be forgotten”. Unused accounts and their data are automatically deleted after a specified period.
Our servers are hosted exclusively in German data centers – an advantage for our customers due to strong data privacy and online security laws, and where GDPR applies. Thus, like all companies in the EU, we enforce GDPR principles.
By comparison, the CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act) basically forces American companies to grant US authorities worldwide full access to data and thus also to personal data. From a German point of view, this is unacceptable and non-transparent.
5. Do you believe online platforms and apps respect and apply ‘privacy by design principle’ in its true sense?
Online platforms and data protection – this is not a sexy topic, but more relevant and necessary than ever. In our experience, the principle of “privacy by design” has not yet arrived in many companies or is actually not taken seriously. In most cases, economic interests still prevail.
In these times of big data and ubiquitous networking, “data” is the virtual gold. Some companies have already collected so much data about people that it makes you angry and sad at the same time. However, the General Data Protection Regulation has proven to be a good and vital instrument to finally put a stop to the collecting mania of individual companies.
6. What would be top 3 tips/best practices you would advise any online user to enforce so they can enhance their online privacy?
- Protecting your privacy comes before convenience.
- Whenever possible, use alternatives to the large and well-known services (there is always at least one alternative!).
- Be careful with your data and never reveal too much about yourself.